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Project deliverables

  • Co-design
  • Collaboration
  • Consultation and diagnostic
  • Creative engagement
  • Event management
  • Narrative Creation
  • Platform design & build

Leading a successful culture transformation

NHS Foundation Trust
In April 2021, Cynergy’s consulting and diagnostic services were procured by an South West NHS Trust, in partnership with NHS South West Leadership Academy, to understand more about the existing culture within the organisation, following a challenging few months.
Cynergy Insight Platform

Cultural Transformation

Shaping organisational cultures is ambitious and complex development work that has huge potential to positively impact individual and organisational performance. We believe that for any intervention to be successful it must be owed by the organisation and everyone who works in it. It also must be modelled from the top down, especially at senior level, not one person, or one group, but a whole collective endeavour of both executive leaders, non-executive guardians and managers.


To tackle this brief, in the first instance, we launched an initial ‘Deep Dive’ over a period of three weeks. This involved 1:1 interviews with a sample of staff from across the organisation covering a range of job roles, expertise and departments, helping us to build an initial picture of what it is like to work for the Foundation Trust and pinpoint some emerging key themes, to help shape the second phase delivery strategy.

Following this, we outlined a course of action which involved conducting further 1:1 interviews with groups of staff we’d identified as being critical in supporting our understanding of what was going on in the organisation. We also ran larger ‘Listening Workshop’ focus groups, developed and launched a bespoke digital ‘Insight Platform,’ to ensure we gained as much insight from as many staff as possible (recognising that staff pressures as well as numbers meant we wouldn’t be able to speak to everyone on a 1:1 basis), undertook observations across different teams and finally, synthesises all of this into a report with our findings, which we delivered to the CEO, Chair and Execs.

This work highlighted areas for improvement, brought together into six key themes, which covered areas such as, Culture, Communication, Staffing and Recruitment and  Innovation and Improvement.

Open and honest conversations

We then designed and delivered a ‘Collabathon’ roadshow as a series of events, taking our findings and delivering them transparently to staff, led by the CEO and Chair, to address our findings with staff and engage them in open and honest conversations, test that these themes were in fact an accurate representation of the challenges the organisation was experiencing, and provide the opportunity for Execs to hear real examples of where this was happening, to build a better picture of the lived culture within the organisation. This listening process was aptly named the ‘Big Conversation’ and took place over the Autumn.

These strategic interventions allowed us to tune in to what staff were experiencing at work and to diagnose the source of the issues, challenges and barriers that they were facing. From here, we worked with the Board and the HR team as consultants to develop a programme of next steps, working closely with them to ensure that these messages were getting out to staff by providing our expertise in comms and engagement. This involved copywriting for their monthly newsletter and email campaigns, creating screensavers, developing a motion graphic outlining the journey, findings and highlighting the ‘You said, we did’ actions taken as a result of the ‘Big Conversation’, and digital flyers.

Co-designing Values

Following this, we also embarked on a Values Refresh programme to support the new direction and leadership of the organisation. With a strong background in co-design and our insight into how staff felt about the Trust’s current values, we felt that this would be a great opportunity for staff involvement – allowing them to play an active role in shaping the future of the Trust and take ownership of the newfound values – addressing their previous feedback.

The programme consisted of eight facilitated workshops and an online Insights platform designed and developed by Cynergy which included interactive activities that gave participants the chance to align their personal values with values they see as important at work. As a result of the workshop discussions and feedback received on the platform, we were able to pin down very clear themes regarding values that were important to staff and what it would mean to work somewhere that upheld those values. From this insight gathered, we then proposed a new set of organisational values that linked to a narrative around having ‘choice’. These are currently being tested with various stakeholder groups and staff.


As with any culture change initiative, results take time. It takes focus, commitment, and alignment, and our partnership with the Trust has echoed this, meaning we have worked alongside them as advisors and collaborators to ensure they can make positive, sustainable and lasting changes for their staff, stakeholders and organisation for the last 18 months. Within this time, however, there has already been positive change including and a clear mission, vision and values strategy and campaign, which is due to be launched this Autumn. In our recent interactions with staff there has been a very clear shift in attitude, to one that is much more positive and hopeful about the future. There is still plenty to be done in the long term, however we have been privileged to be involved in this organisation’s brave and courageous journey, to ask the difficult questions and really listen and act upon the response, co-creating solutions at a human level, to support them in creating a new chapter for themselves and their patients, service users and communities.

Get in touch

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you understand more about the culture in your organisation, please get in touch with a member of our team at